Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Harpoon 3 ANW - Fighting the Wrong Battle with the Wrong Warships - Part 1

On the night of June 18th, 1944 Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance decided to move Task Force 58 away from the Japanese fleet and back into a position near the main body of the US Fifth Fleet . Many have criticized Admiral Spruance for this decision (an entire Japanese fleet escaped unmolested), but few have recognized that he was committed to support and protect the amphibious operation at Saipan.

In the "Malvinas Part II" scenario (Malvinas is the Argentine name for Falklands Islands) I am sailing almost the same tactical waters as Spruance in the Pacific but I am a thousand miles short of his admiralship. "Malvinas Part II" is a fictional scenario with a backstory identical to the real war of 1982. I am in command of a British fleet with the mission of  placing a landing force and its supplies within reach of Port Stanley.

My fleet is organized as 3 task forces and a nuclear submarine. God help us, my entire force looks like more apt for escort duty than anything else. In a certain way this is good as we have many landing and logistics vessels to escort. But the rear of the fleet is holding back a good portion of the naval firepower we need in the van.

TF02, the ram that will crack the Argentine Navy's hull open and the arrow that will break the Argentine Air Force's wings for good, has a dozen Sea Harrier's flying off the HMS Invincible. Escorted by HMS Argyll, HMS Argyll, HMS Battleaxe (all purpose frigates) and HMS Gloucester (area air defense destroyer).

TF01 harbors men, guns, equipment and ammo of the land assault force within the guts of RFA Sir Galahad and RFA Sir Bedivere. HMS Fearless will open its gates and deliver the tip of the spear of your Majesty's  finest Royal Marines onto the islands shores. Guarding this precious cargo, HMS Southhampton, HMS Glasgow (area air defense destroyers) and the general purpose frigates HMS Amazon and HMS Broadsword.

TF06 has the support and logistics needed for the war, both at sea and land within the store of RFA Regent and  RFA Fort Austin. These vessels are protected by the general purpose frigates HMS Active and HMS Arrow. Also in this force we have HMS Sirius, an anti-submarine (ASW) frigate beefed up for anti-air and anti-surface warfare.

Last but not least, the HMS Trafalgar nuclear submarine provides a much needed screen for the whole fleet.

The Armada Argentina (Argentine Navy's) main assets are the carrier Veinticinco de Mayo and the diesel submarine Santa Fe.

2140, May 15 1995. The green outlines of the Malvinas/Falklands and the continent are spectators to the naval battle to come. The red square icon is Port Stanley. The blue concentric circles are my task forces. From south to north TF02, TF01 and TF06. West of TF01 a Lynx helicopter (blue inverted semicircle with two small "ears") has detected some surface contacts (yellow squares) and considerable air activity (yellow inverted half-squares). One air contact (the one selected) is a fast mover (note its airspeed at 420 knots) and considering its location and bearing (far from land masses) it is possibly coming from the Veinticinco de Mayo. The two surface contacts northwest of TF01 are a bit worrying too, but so far we haven't observed any aircraft in their proximity. They may well be patrol boats. The HMS Trafalgar (blue inverted semi-circle) is west off Port Stanley.
To be continued. Stay tuned.



Dimitris said...

Waiting for the next part :-)

JC said...

Ey Dimitris,

Mega! Now I have somebody who knows about these things watching me ... :) LOL. Cheers, mate.